Mixing art with politics has always been explosive. The Bronx-native C-Rayz Walz in his debut album Prelude used his skills as an emcee to bring to the forefront many controversial ideas, mostly centered on agitating for revolution against the establishment. C-Rayz, whose alias Sun Cycle MC represents his energy and ability to shed light on all areas of the earth and who names the socially conscious Dead Prez as an influence, once spoke overtly about using the industry as a worthy tool to help raise a people's revolution. The newest member of the Definitive Jux roster, C-Rayz has spent years building an image of himself as an activist. But it seems C-rayz has gone through a personal transformation and, at least for now, fatherhood has replaced the push for revolution.
Ravipops, which dropped July 29 (See Prefix's review here), shows a promise of maturity and an important New York hip-hop mind facing realities of life beyond the harsh constraints of capitalism -- and embracing the difficult, yet more rewarding, restraints of fatherhood.
Prefix Magazine:What have you been up to?
C-Rayz Walz: Part 1: Just trying to grow up. PM:When you put out Prelude, you said it was an introduction to yourself and what you were about. How do you feel your latest album, Ravipops, complements Prelude? C-Rayz Walz: Part 1:Ravipops is a more complete view of my substance, what I really feel is important and what made me C-Rayz Walz. Prelude was me raising my hand in class saying what I am capable of. Ravi is the full spectrum of all those categories. PM:What does Ravipops mean?C-Rayz Walz: Part 1: Ravipops is who I am trying to become. Ravi is my son. Ravipops means maturity, it means fatherhood. I used to be crazy, doing a track to pay rent -- you call me, I'll get on a single. Now if you call me, first of all the money's got to be right, because Ravi is my manager. Ultimately, my music got to be able to be played in front of mothers and children. It's hard going from somebody that can just spend the night and go to open mike every day and not take a shower every day and just get high to somebody who has to be there in the morning for my son, and still do what I got to do with my music and be creative. It's crazy. I'm totally weirded out right now. PM:You have a daughter, too?C-Rayz Walz: Part 1: Well, I actually said that in a rhyme, "When my little girl cries it's a thunderstorm," because when you are not being a man, women act like little girls. You know what I'm saying, because all women want a man. Once I get back to being a god, gonna have no more daughters, unless I have a physical one. So by that, I'm just saying my son's mother is being emotional. PM:Do you consider yourself a socialist?C-Rayz Walz: Part 1: You're on some real shit. I don't even know who I am right now. I know I am definitely Ravipops. I know that's real. I touch on everything without being preachy. I don't want to drop a whole Dead Prez album. I don't got enough guns for the type of pressure that brings you, I don't got enough money yet and I don't got enough crew. And then I don't want to be putting rhymes and battle rhymes on every track because it's repetitive, and I don't want to say stuck in '86 just because I'm from the Bronx and I had the golden era of hip-hop on my door step. I want to connect everything. I want to make people that don't listen to hip-hop music say, "Man, C-Rayz Walz is a dope artist." I want to connect with people other than the people I am comfortable connecting with. PM:It seemed in Prelude you were kind of hollering at a violent revolution.C-Rayz Walz: Part 1: Oh, I was on some fucked up mania. I really wanted to kill Giuliani. PM:So you're not trying to aim for the people's revolution anymore?C-Rayz Walz: Part 1: I don't want to incriminate myself, I'm definitely not down with what's going on. I just don't want to say, "Fuck the Mayor" on this album, because he's fucking everyone. So if anything, I would have made "Fucked by the Mayor." But I still hit it up; I just made it so subliminal that cats will probably catch that later. I just broke the war down on that shit in single rhymes that cover the whole reason for the war. PM:So you're not trying to aim for the people's revolution anymore?C-Rayz Walz: Part 1: I am definitely down with that. One of the illest revolutionaries ever to me was Malcolm X, for the fact that cousin was in the hood standing on the corner speaking to the hood. When you are doing the real work for the people, it ain't about C-Rayz Walz at that point or about me being an artist; it's about the message. There's nothing new under this sun, no new conditions. A lot of people might find the world is over because of this war, but I'm sure our parents felt the same way when Vietnam popped up. When I do an album that's straight revolutionary you're not going to know it's me. When they come to kill me I'm gonna have my paper up. I ain't going out like Pac. PM:You think Tupac's definitely dead?C-Rayz Walz: Part 1: I don't know. I know he was gonna start up a new Black Panther organization. His messages was mixed.